INDIANAPOLIS – Thursday, the Ten Point Coalition sponsored its first-ever job fair, aimed at offering offenders a second chance after a life of crime.
The goal is to give them an opportunity to find a career and provide for their families, instead of slipping back into crime.
Rev. Charles Harrison with the Ten Point Coalition said they were pleasantly surprised with the day’s turnout. More people came than they expected, well into the hundreds.
He said the job fair is an important step to take hopelessness off the streets and adjust attitudes.
“There was a lot of frustration on the streets, a lot of hopelessness because people could not get jobs, particularly the ex-offenders,” said Harrison.
The line for the far was so long it stretched around Barnes United Methodist Church on West 30th Street.
Rev. Harrison hopes the event can be a saving grace. He said the fair is a chance to educate and change perceptions because the hardest part is having that community conversation, one where they tell job-seekers being lazy won’t cut it.
“If we are going to offer these types of opportunities, you have to have a work ethic. You’ve got to get up and go to work every day. You can’t go to work for one week or two weeks and quit the job because you don’t want to work,” he said.
The city of Indianapolis has part-time, full-time, and seasonal work available. WorkOne Indy provided a list of jobs, too. And Penske was there with positions to fill in Shelbyville.
“We want somebody who wants a full-time position. These are entry-level roles into the warehouse, but we want folks who will be with us long-term,” said Krista Buescher with Penske.
People waited for their turn in line and then met with prospective employers in group settings.
James Gibson is a father of three who did time for cocaine possession. He said he’s a changed man and ready to work.
“A lot more humble now. I would say being a father has changed me. I want to show my kids the right way,” said Gibson.
Harrison said a main complaint heard by Ten Point Coalition street teams is that there aren’t any jobs. That’s why the coalition tried to bring them in.
“One of the biggest contributors to the violence on the street is the hopelessness that people feel because they’re not being provided job opportunities,” he said.
And the violence on the street wasn’t far from the job fair. Those neighborhood streets are ones where Nathan Trapuzzano’s accused killer 16-year-old Simeon Adams kept busy, a part of town investigators believe now may be littered with stolen guns.